Josh Hamilton to Angels: Why Los Angeles Should Have Paid Zack Greinke Instead

Chris SchadContributor IIIDecember 13, 2012

Sep 27, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers outfieder Josh Hamilton prior to his at bat in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive offseason, the Los Angeles Angels laid low and wound up getting the top free-agent hitter on the market in Josh Hamilton.

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports on Twitter, the Angels reached an agreement with Hamilton Thursday afternoon:

Josh Hamilton’s deal with #Angels will be 5 years, source tells @mlbonfox

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 13, 2012

Another report by ESPN Dallas said that sources have confirmed that the deal is worth $125 million over five years.

The hope is that the addition of Hamilton will help Pujols avoid a second "off year" in which he hit .285 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI after the Angels signed him to a similarly massive 10-year, $240 million contract last winter.

That's cute.

Without a legitimate starting rotation, the Angels could put together the greatest lineup since the New York Yankees' Murderers' Row in the late 1920's, but still walk to the post-game spread disappointed on a nightly basis because they've just been out-slugged 10-9.

This is why the Angels should have taken the $25 million per season they've just handed Hamilton and given it to the pitcher that just bolted across town.

That would be Zack Grienke, who recently signed Major League Baseball's second-largest contract (six years, $159 million) with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Greinke's departure was the ultimate blow in a rotation that crumbled since the Halos last donned their red-and-white uniforms.

Already this offseason, the Angels have let Dan Haren walk to the Washington Nationals in free agency and traded Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals.

The blow of losing those two was supposed to be softened by the acquisition of Tommy Hanson from the Atlanta Braves. However, his shoulder may be hanging by a thread and he may never reach the ace status that had been projected for him as a stud prospect.

The team also signed innings-eater Joe Blanton from the Philadelphia Phillies, but in typical Angels fashion, they overpaid for a guy who's had his ERA climb steadily toward the fives the past couple seasons.

While the Angels have Jared Weaver to fall back on, there's no denying that Hanson and Blanton are not Greinke. In fact, Greinke's last 10 starts where he went 6-1 with a 2.94 ERA showed that even in the bright lights of Los Angeles, he is fully capable of carrying a team.

Instead, the Angels decided that it would make more sense to pay Hamilton until he reaches age 37, at which point both he and Pujols may be using walkers to run out to their respective positions.

There is no doubt that the Angels' offense will improve with the addition of Hamilton. The challenge for the Angels now is to make sure they have the right starters so they're not begging for pitching come July.